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Portsmouth school praised as best in country in Pupil Premium awards

A high-performing school in Portsmouth has achieved national recognition when it was awarded the accolade of being the best secondary school in the country for its use of the Pupil Premium. Ark Charter Academy in Southsea was

awarded £250,000 in funding for its work in providing a high quality education for students from low income backgrounds as part of the Department for Education's Pupil Premium Awards. At an award ceremony in London attended by

the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of State for Schools, the staff and students were praised for their hard work in spite of challenging circumstances. David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools,

said: “I’d like to congratulate everybody at Ark

Charter Academy on this amazing achievement to be selected as the best secondary school in the whole country for the attainment of disadvantaged youngsters. I know how much the school has achieved in just a few years and I hope it can be a trailblazer that can show other schools around the country how to do it.” Dame Sharon Hollows, Principal of Ark Charter

Academy, said: “I really appreciate this prize because it’s in recognition of the hard work that the staff have

done and the children have done. It also supports our parents who care so much about the children. This will enable us to help them even more. I’m really looking forward to being able to help other schools use their pupil premium effectively. In 2014 82% of Ark Charter’s disadvantaged

pupils achieved 5+ A* to C GCSEs including English and mathematics, against a national average of 36.5%. The school runs a longer day to make sure there is additional time to help pupil premium pupils with core academic subjects, including study groups on maths and literacy for struggling pupils. The school is the most improved in the country over the past three years for GCSE results. Pupil premium funding is also used beyond the

classroom to provide pupils with a wider experience of life, including sailing and boxing activities, subsidised trips to universities and theatrical performances. Dame Sharon added that she recognised what

a transforming effect a good education can have: “Somebody asked me the other day why I do this. I don’t just do this because I really enjoy my job. I do it because somebody did it for me. I wouldn’t be here today if some great teachers hadn’t done it for me many years ago.” For the moment, Ark Charter are celebrating.

But they are also starting to think about how they could spend the money they have been awarded which will go towards helping more children from low income backgrounds achieve their potential The school are also looking to reinforce their

success in core subjects, possibly hiring extra maths and English teachers to work with pupils eligible for the pupil premium. This would allow them to pursue the unique Maths Mastery and English Mastery curriculums that Ark schools offer. The school is also looking at the possibility of

creating some space in the school grounds, where a member of staff who can teach life skills to small groups of children and individuals. The idea is to provide students with independent living skills in things like basic house management, cooking, cleaning, financial literacy and social skills. This will enable them to succeed when they leave school, reducing the drop-out rate from university.

Introducing a revolutionary teaching product

About three years ago a Hungarian inventor, Sandor Radosza, invented the concept of a 3 dimensional educational tool and logic game designed for children aged 4-10. He developed it to the final stage last year and has registered the trademark of the invention - Radosza Rings. For the past three years he has worked with many teachers in several primary schools and nurseries in Hungary and Slovakia and, based on their feedback, they are identified as ‘exceptional development tools’ for pupils. The rings are already used in almost all of the schools in Hungary. The product range is officially recommended by

a Hungarian politician and educator, Dr Rózsa Hoffmann. She is now the Secretary of State for Public Education and previously she was Secretary of State for Education of the Ministry of National Resources. Operating these educational toys is very easy and can add real fun to any class where children


and pupils are learning basic skills, such as calculating and writing. The shape comes from two rings crossing each other in one point perpendicularly. On the two rings the sliding tiles contains letters, digits or images. According to the function there are 3 main types of the rings: Nursery, Counting and Writing. All variations of Radosza Rings improve thinking, memory concentration, dexterity and fine motor skills. They can be used at home, at nursery or at school. They are suitable for playing, helping with homework, practising for classes and can be used in competitions. Learning how to use these rings in Nurseries helps acquire basics skills in reception year much quicker. The Writing Ring can be used in a very effective

way of practising writing, reading, putting together syllables, words or even solving quizzes. The Counting Ring helps kids solve basic mathematical equations. Other variations help kids in nurseries recognise colours, shapes,

animals, plants and many other common pictures and figures. These fun instruments help children improve many of their abilities and skills that cannot be taught by digital toys or video games. They can be used in teaching foreign languages as well and they can be very effective with kids who have learning difficulties or conditions like autism. The inventor’s ultimate goal is to make these

instruments available globally and he is now entering the UK and Irish market. His partner and exclusive agent, Zoltan Hojsza is in the process to find non-profit organizations in order to evaluate and to endorse these fantastic tools. For further information he can be contacted via email –


April 2015

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